actions would require the same witnesses and documentation in
order to establish the same facts.
For these reasons alone, we will dismiss the Amended Complaint
In addition to the above, the Municipal Court Judgment between
the same parties provides an additional basis for the
application of claim preclusion as to Johnson's Amended
Complaint. Where a party seeks to preclude litigation of issues
in federal court which the party avers have already been decided
in a state court judgment, a federal court must look to the
state's law regarding collateral estoppel and issue preclusion
to determine the effect the federal court should give to the
state court judgment. See Bailey v. Ness, 733 F.2d 279, 281
(3d Cir. 1984). Under Pennsylvania law, the final judgment
between Johnson and Defendants in the Municipal Court action
bars him from bringing the same claims in this case that were
raised or that could have been raised in the Municipal Court
action. See, Urrutia v. Harrisburg County Police Dept.,
91 F.3d 451, 461 (3d Cir. 1996) (general principles of claim
preclusion) (citations omitted). Therefore, any claims for
payments of the same monies, based on the same facts, under
whatever legal theory, are barred if they could have been raised
before the Municipal Court. This includes at least Plaintiffs
state law claims herein, e.g., for allegedly having to pay
rents that were not due, damages due for the alleged breach of
lease, and tort damages arising from the alleged wrongful
termination of the lease.
Therefore, the Municipal Court judgment would bar Plaintiffs
Defendants also contend that the Amended Complaint should be
dismissed pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(4)
and (5) for insufficient process and insufficient service of
The record demonstrates that Plaintiff improperly mailed, by
express mail, a Summons and the Amended Complaint to Defendant
U.S. Equity at its offices located in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. Plaintiff also improperly mailed a Summons and
Amended Complaint to Defendant Amtrak in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. In-state service of process by mail upon a
corporation is explicitly prohibited, and service may be
properly effective only by hand delivery and only upon a
partner, officer, agent, or manager in charge of the place of
business. The service of process effected on U.S. Equity and
Amtrak by mail is in direct violation to Pa.R.Civ.P. 424, which
mandates service by hand delivery.
Also, service of process by mail in the instant case is not
permissible under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Under
Rule 4(h)(1), the Plaintiff could have mailed a proper Summons
and Amended Complaint to U.S. Equity and Amtrak only if he also
delivered a copy of the Summons and the Amended Complaint to an
officer, manager, or general agent, or to any other agent
authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of
process and, if the agent was one authorized by statute to
receive service and the statute so required. Plaintiff,
therefore, did not comply with Rule 4(h)(1) by simply mailing
the Summons and the Amended Complaint to U.S. Equity and Amtrak
in Philadelphia. A copy of the Amended Complaint was not
delivered to any officer or agent authorized by U.S. Equity or
Amtrak to accept service.
In view of the foregoing, it is unnecessary for this court to
discuss Defendants' remaining reasons to dismiss the Complaint.
We therefore enter the following Order.
AND NOW, this — day of DECEMBER, 2000, upon consideration of
the Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint filed by Defendants
U.S. Equity Realty, Inc. and Amtrak on the basis of claim
preclusion, and pursuant to Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(4), (5) and (6), it is hereby
ORDERED that said Motion be and the same is hereby GRANTED.
The above-captioned case is DISMISSED with prejudice.